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67% of women feel they have to work harder than men to get the same level of career progression – 41% of men agree

Women tend to have far lower levels of confidence in their financial decision-making ability than men, with only 39% of women saying they feel confident about making investment decisions, versus 52% of men

PTSB’s latest Reflecting Ireland report has revealed stark differences in women’s and men’s approaches to work/life balance and to household finances. 

The bank’s quarterly research of consumer behaviour and attitudes has also revealed a sharp fall-off in the proportion of women who participate in team sports from their mid-20s and that this fall-off worsens further in their 30s and 40s.

The research separately finds that the cost of living is still the most dominant issue in people’s minds but there is a sense of stabilisation in economic sentiment compared to previous quarters, with 43% of people expecting the economy will get worse over the next 12 months (down from 48% last summer) and 33% saying it will get better (up from 29% last summer).

Workplace/family care findings

The research found:

  • 67% of women believe they have to work harder than men to gain the same level of success in their career. 41% of men agree.
  • 20% of people would not recommend their workplace to a female relative or friend, with 21% of women saying this and 18% of men.
  • Both men and women who have a female direct boss are significantly more likely to recommend their workplace to women (52% of people who have a female boss will recommend their workplace to women versus 26% of those who do not).
  • However, 26% of people have never had a direct female boss at any stage in their careers.
  • Despite the availability of parental leave to both parents, women are 60% more likely to have availed of it than men.
  • Both women and men struggle with work-life balance, but women struggle more.
  • Women find it more difficult to take time off work for family reasons and fear the impact if they do.
  • 45% of women feel their career would suffer if they take their statutory entitlement to parental leave but only 33% of men feel this.

Attitudes to household finances

The research also surveyed attitudes towards financial planning and revealed some striking differences between the approaches taken by women and men. Respondents indicated that:

  • Women tend to have far lower levels of confidence in their financial decision-making ability than men, with only 39% of women saying they feel confident about making investment decisions, versus 52% of men.
  • Men are twice as likely as women to have financial investments (33% of men versus 15% of women).
  • 48% of men have a clear long-term financial plan, versus 35% of women. The male-female gap is highest in the under-35 age group, where 54% of men and just 32% of women say they have a plan.
  • Women take the lead on decisions about grocery shopping or day-to-day finances. 70% of women say they take the lead on grocery shopping and 59% on day-to-day financial decisions, versus 39% and 46% of men, respectively. In contrast, men are more likely than women to take the lead on utilities, home or car insurance, loans, and investments.
  • Women and men feel equal levels of confidence in their ability to manage their household budget (approx. 70% each).

Female participation in sports

The research also shows:

  • Women are less likely than men to take part in team sports and that their participation levels drop off sharply in the 25-34 age group, with additional declines in the 35-44 age group.
  • 64% of men surveyed say they have taken part in team sports at some point in their lifetime but the corresponding figure for women is just 36%.
  • Of these women, 41% of those aged from 18 to 24 take part in team sports but this drops to 26% for the 25-34 age group and just 18% for those aged 35-44.
  • 1 in 10 of the public claim Katie Taylor as their top sporting role model, but this doubles to almost 1 in 5 for women. Women vote Katie Taylor well ahead of other favourites such as Roy Keane, Johnny Sexton, and Sonya O’Sullivan. Katie is just as popular as Lionel Messi for men.
  • Only 5 of the 23 sporting role models (22%) listed by research participants were female with PTSB Team Ireland brand ambassador and Olympic Champion Boxer Kellie Harrington placing 13th, evidence that we have further to go to achieve true gender equality in sport.

Consumer sentiment on the economy

The research found:

  • 43% of people expect the economy will get worse over the next 12 months (down from 48% last summer) and 33% say it will get better (up from 29% last summer).
  • 58% of respondents say the country is on the wrong track (unchanged from the last quarter), while 30% say it is moving in the right direction (up marginally from 29% last quarter).
  • 46% of people say they feel worse off than a year ago but this represents a drop from the 54% saying this in October.
  • 28% of people expect to be better off in a year’s time, up from 23% who said this in October.

Commenting on the research, Leontia Fannin, Head of Corporate Affairs at PTSB, said:

“Our research shows the extent to which both women and men continue to feel pressures in combining their work and home lives, as well as the difference in their respective experiences.

Survey respondents indicate that career progression, work/life balance and feeling comfortable in exercising the right to take parental leave remain significant issues and these will need to be managed actively but sensitively by employers.

Our research also highlights a significant divergence between men and women in their approach to finances and this raises interesting challenges for providers of financial services.

Finally, it is encouraging to see evidence of stabilisation in consumer sentiment towards the economy after such a challenging period, but it is clear that cost of living pressures continue to loom large and this is likely to remain the case for some time.”

Claire Cogan, Behavioural Scientist, said:

 “There is strong evidence of an Intention-Action gap among women when it comes to putting a long-term financial plan in place.

While almost half of men have a clear long-term financial plan, just over a third of women do. It’s not that women don’t think it’s important, it’s that it takes them longer than men to get around to it. 

The difference between how men and women plan for their financial future is most evident among the under 35s. Almost twice as many men in this age group have already set up a pension compared to women (42% vs. 23%), while more women (53%) intend to do so but haven’t got around to it yet, compared to 36% of men.”   

PTSB’s Reflecting Ireland research is conducted every quarter and is based on an online survey of approx. 1,000 adults across Ireland.

Download the full #ReflectingIreland report here.

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